A little help proved costly when the occupants of a white Innova decided to fix the flat tyre of a Swift car, which was parked dangerously in the right lane of the accident-prone Mumbai-Pune Expressway near Panvel.
A family of five, blessed by the saint at Shirdi, were on their way back to Kandivli when their Maruti Swift blew a tyre leaving them stranded in the right lane of the highway.
An anxious Amarjeet Singh, who was behind the wheel, asked his wife Komal to hold on to their 7-month-old toddler and remain seated in the car. He stepped out of the vehicle and was frantically waving at passing cars for help.
“The front tyre on the right side was punctured. So, we were forced to stop in the right lane. Had I taken the risk of crossing the four lanes to park in the left, many more vehicles would have hit us by then,” said 43-year-old Amarjeet, whose wife Komal has suffered serious injuries in the ensuing accident. Komal’s sister Sharan Dhillon (28) and a 10-year-old were also seated in the car.
Ramnath Mhatre, along with five others, was returning from the village after seeking the blessings of their local deity. They encountered heavy traffic on the main road, and thus decided to take a detour through the old Mumbai-Pune Highway, and after Kusgaon they turned back on to the main Expressway. That’s when they spotted the stranded Swift and saw Amarjeet waving for help.
Ramnath and three others got off the vehicle, and the car parked slightly ahead of the Swift. Meanwhile, a Maruti Omni had also spotted the stranded vehicle and slowed down to offer help.
When they saw the extent of the damage to the tyre, Ramnath headed to the Omni to fetch a jack as his car did not have one. He turned around to head towards the Swift, when he froze at what he saw. A bus was speeding towards them head on and with no signs of slowing down.
“It was around 4.45 am when this huge bus came from nowhere and rammed against the Swift. We could hear the screeching sound as it hit our Innova taking it along with itself down the 20-feet gorge,” said 44-year-old Ramnath.
While Ramnath, Sushil Mhatre (22), Dipesh Mhatre (25) and Ashish Patil (21), were standing outside the Innova, Ramnath’s nephew Vipin Mhatre (23) and Sagar Patil (23) were asleep inside the car.
When the bus rammed into the Swift, Komal and her baby were thrown off the seat, and the speeding bus collided with the parked Innova and dragged it along down a gorge.
Vipin and Sagar, who were sleeping inside the Innova suffered injuries to their hands and legs and are now recuperating at MGM Hospital Kalamboli.